As a long time Putty user, I love how upon selecting a text it gets copied into the buffer and upon right clicking it gets pasted back in.

Is there a way to configure Terminal to behave the same way?

  • I like that feature, too - but ⌘-C ⌘-V is pretty quick :)
    – warren
    Jan 14, 2015 at 15:37
  • Use iTerm2 as described here
    – dbaltor
    Sep 23, 2021 at 8:49

6 Answers 6


Terminal is limited in its configurability but iTerm2 is a Terminal replacement that does what you ask and more. Including bookmarks for ssh sessions not unlike puTTY.

  • Looks interesting. How to you set cut and paste up as i described though? I don't see this under Preferences
    – JAM
    May 15, 2011 at 0:18
  • Preferences windows -> General tab. Make sure Copy to clipboard on selection is checked under the Mouse section.
    – Ian C.
    May 15, 2011 at 0:31
  • iTerm is the best. +1 May 15, 2011 at 0:50
  • @Ian That will copy to the clipboard when text is hilighted, but won't paste on a right click. It brings up the context menu. It doesn't look like there is an option to do this, but it seems useful.
    – KeithB
    May 15, 2011 at 14:04
  • 1
    2 KeithB: in iTerm2 go to "Options -> General -> install test-release updates (or something like this)", check for updates, install last test-release ( by now) and get new option "Right button single click -> Paste from Selection" in Options -> General -> Pointer. I spend half an hour after migrating to new Mac finding this :) Good luck! May 19, 2014 at 10:42

If you have a three-button mouse (e.g., the Apple Mighty Mouse scroll ball can act as a third button), Terminal will paste the current selection if you Middle-Click (just like X11 and xterm). It is the same as invoking the Edit > Paste Selection command, which has the keyboard shortcut Shift-Command-V.

As of OS X 10.8, selecting text in a terminal copies the text to a pasteboard and Paste Selection pastes the contents of this pasteboard (akin to X11’s PRIMARY). It now behaves very much like xterm under X11. As a result, Paste Selection and Middle-Click are now available when there is no selection, pasting the same text until something else is selected, and the text persists when quitting/reopening Terminal. The pasteboard has the identifier com.apple.Terminal.selection and is available to other programs.

Also, you can drag-and-drop selected text to Paste it. You can of course drag to other terminal windows (or other applications), but you can also just drag a few pixels and then release to Paste into the current terminal.


NO need to download anything. In Terminal do

  1. select text to copy
  2. to paste, click the middle button of the mouse, or (cmd + shift + v)

I just tried in Yosemite.

Also works in High Sierra.


shift-⌘-V works on El Capitan. Feel free to edit if you have information about earlier releases


Highlight the command and press Shift-Cmd-V to paste the highlighted data.


Simply install http://totalterminal.binaryage.com/ which includes both these options in the preferences.

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